Head Over Heels for James

Elizabeth and James, “James” Cotton Tweed Blazer, that is.

Doing a quick lunchtime pass through Nordstrom a couple of days ago with my New (Work Wear) Attitude in mind, my Retail Antennae were tuned to jacket frequency. Not for the usual, ordinary blazers that look like half of a suit, but Hero Jackets™, the kind that elevate and pull together whatever else one wears. My Primal Tweed Brain went on high alert when out of the corner of my eye I spotted a navy and ivory fabric that turned out to belong to the jacket above.

At first glance, it looked too good to be true. Tweed!  Longer length!  Shorter sleeves!  A lighter-weight, three-season* fabric! I flipped through the rack.  Size 2.  Ha!  Size 6, and….  That’s it??  But I thought, let me try on the 6 to see just how many sizes up I’d need to go in this thing, maybe they can order.  And…it fit.  I couldn’t believe it.  I reality checked with three different Sales Associates. One said, “if you went up a size, it would look boxy,” and that was all I needed to hear. Even le monsieur gave the thumbs up when I brought it home.

Here’s one of the little details that keeps this from being Just Another Blazer:

The fabric looks black and white in this pic, but it’s actually a very dark navy. It’s soft, and drapes nicely. I love the subtlety of the twists on classic, and the hint of wit.  It’s perfect for work, but I can see pairing it with a printed or embellished top for weekend evening wear too.

(Modeling pic to come, probably next week.)

*”three-season” in LA, that is.

Have you unearthed any great finds lately?

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  1. A size six!!!! Let’s cancel our rendez-vous in Paris right this minute!

    Great jacket, stunning. I can just see it on you — SIZE 6 ! Only thing that doesn’t work for me is the length of the sleeves. All my life sleeves have always been too short so that mid arm thing drives me crazy. I would be tugging all day long. As for the rest, beautiful.

    Seriously, let’s cancel now. No hard feelings. OK?


  2. I tried one of these on last year, but was less successful with getting the size right. Like the one I tried on, yours is quite similar to my Smythe blazers — that same mix of classic with a modern-casual sensibility — and similar button detail on a bracelet sleeve. You’ll wear and wear and wear yours, I’m sure.

  3. Kalee – Thank you! I hadn’t been too familiar with this line, but now that I am, I’m finding that a lot of their pieces appeal. Not too crazy = just right for moi.

    Duchesse – thanks! Yes, I’ve always loved the pictures of their line “The Row” but of course those are out of my reach. They do seem to have talent, and I’m impressed at how wearable a lot of their designs look to be.

    RoseAG – yes! I saw this one as being a very versatile piece. I know what you mean about the artsy look. When done right it can be really fabulous, but yes, it’s become almost cliché. I do see wearing some of my printed silk scarves with this one, which is the nice thing about the subtle fabric pattern and design details. Thank you.

    coffeeaddict – yeah, I know. This is definitely at the top end of what I’ll spend for a single piece. But I do think it’s a good investment (the fabric and construction quality is superb) will be wearable over many seasons, as there’s nothing about it so trendy that screams “Spring 2011!”

    Tish Jett – Two words: Vanity Sizing. Seriously, there’s nothing else in my closet below an 8. We’re still on, OK? 😀

    Paula – I’m also very short waisted. One of the things I like about the proportions on this jacket is that it nips in and lengthens my waist. I find that bracelet-length sleeves are slimming on me, not sure why.

    materfamilias – yes, this style really is reminiscent of your Smythe blazers, one of the reasons I was drawn to it. I’m sure the sizing is weird on this one; there’s no way I’d fit into that size in anything else in the store!

    Maravonda – thanks!

    WendyB – thank you! Yes, I adore this sleeve length too.

  4. Love this! I really have been surprised by how much I love Elizabeth and James clothing. Stylish but not too crazy. Can’t wait to see it on you!

  5. Nice jacket. I see the photo styles it with jeans. I love things that can dress up workhorse items.

    One iconic item I see with women my age is the artsy jacket/wearable art item. It’s the quilited, brightly patterned/hand painted/artisian woven look. There isn’t a thing wrong with it, but despite the uniqueness of the items, they’re predictable.

    This is nice because it’s not that, it’s tweedy. You can, if you must, put your hand-made paper pin or painted silk scarf with it – but it’s not a requirement.

  6. Uff, this one sure isn’t cheap. Don’t get me wrong, this is not criticism in any way, but are you sure it’s worth it? Particularly in regards to the composition of the fabric and how it’s made.
    An item like this should and must be able to withstand at least 4 seasons to justify this price.
    Otherwise I think it’s a very flattering cut, the colour and weave are superb and will blend nicely with a wide range of colour.
    And I love, love the sleeves, that’s actually my favourite length. The little ruched details are fun.

  7. This jacket is a good example to prove how the shape of your body determines if something suits you – or not. I am sure, it suits you perfectly and I am looking forward to seeing the modelling photos.
    My torso is too short for a jacket like yours. My waist “sits” very high, as a result any sleeve between lower upper-arm (=close to the ellbow) and shorter than wrist-lenght makes my torso look shorter. When I sit at a table with my friend – she is 1’61cm, she is taller than I am, though I’m 5’10”. So this blazer would be a No-Go for me. I am quite sensitive to proportions, since I try to make the best out of what I’ve got.
    I noticed how fashion bloggers – especially when with a larger bust – “shrink” the appearance of their torso by wearing clothes in wrong proportions. They are 100% conscious about their appearance but they just don’t care about the proportions. My friend thinks it is no fun, sticking to “rules” when it comes to fashion but I value the analysis the style-coach did on my figure way over fashion. It saves me money and leaves less to de-clutter. The style coaching somehow probably made me immune the virus called fashion. 🙂

  8. I was going to say something similar to what Paula said, then saw your reply that you are also short waisted. Hmm. I thought you were, so am surprised the jacket works. I’d love to see a photo. It really is lovely.

  9. ‘Primal Tweed Brain’ – god, I laughed! I’m always looking at Elizabeth and James stuff online, and that jacket is so lovely. As Duchesse says, the detail is what sets it apart (and LOVE the sleeve length). Looking forward to the modelling shots.

  10. Love the Elizabeth & James jacket. Wonder if it is available in the UK? Don’t wear formal jackets much any more but It is nice to have a jacket you can dress up and down when needed.

  11. Belle – me too! Makes it more wearable for summer/fall.

    Mardel – thanks! The fabric on this is really nice. So many jackets seem to have such stiff fabric these days.

    K.Line – I was surprised once I started looking at other pieces from this line just how wearable many seemed to be. (We’ll leave the strapless sundresses out of the equation for now…)

    Miss Janey – thank you!

    Susan Tiner – what I learned from Imogen is that those of us with thick, short waists should look for pieces that skim the waist, rather than drawing attention to it. This jacket works for a long-over-lean silhouette which helps me to achieve a more balanced proportion. If I try to wear something belted (often common advice to “create” a waistline), I just look like a sack of potatoes cinched around the middle.

    LPC – yes, it has all of the bases covered. Will try to get a good modeling pic for next week.

    Tiffany – glad you enjoyed that one. I really do think my affinity for tweedy fabrics is cellular.

    bikim – Hi Rosa, thanks!

    The Style Crone – the sleeve detail is what pushed me over the edge. This navy is SO dark…I keep looking at it to confirm it isn’t black.

    metscan – I appreciate your endorsement!

    Chicatanyage – if nothing else, I think Net-A-Porter carries pieces from this line, but I’ll bet you can find in the UK.